More than 150 professional societies from across the globe are expected to participate in the International Day of Radiology (IDoR) on Wednesday 8 November. This year's focus is on emergency radiology, and a wide range of public lectures, department open days, national media appearances, and press events are being planned.
In advance of IDoR 2017, the European Society of Radiology (ESR) has conducted a series of interviews with leading experts in emergency radiology.
Currently, many Spanish hospitals don't have an emergency radiology unit, explained Dr. Milagros Martí de Gracia, head of the emergency radiology unit at La Paz University Hospital, UAM, in Madrid. Each day her team performs between 300 and 350 plain film, 12 to 20 ultrasound, and 50 to 70 CT examinations.
"In my country, emergency radiology is not a recognized specialty, but it is a special area of dedication in some institutions," she commented. "This situation is detrimental to patient care, as patients may not receive specific, comprehensive, and urgent radiological attention, which is crucial for a prompt diagnosis and proper clinical care."
"I am very happy with my role, but the workflow and the physical environment of my workplace needs a lot of improvement. It is necessary to update and increase equipment to adapt to the changing demands of radiological care," she added.
Emergency care in France
In another interview, Dr. Kathia Chaumoître, professor and head of the radiology department at North Hospital, Aix Marseille University in France, pointed out that all radiologists in her department are involved in emergency work as part of their schedule. There is a dedicated CT unit for the emergency department (plus two additional CT units for scheduled exams); two conventional x-ray rooms in the emergency department, one each for adults and children; and two ultrasound emergency rooms, one for adults and one for pediatric emergencies. Also, there are dedicated time slots for emergency MRI scans.
"During the day, workflow is fairly well controlled because some nonemergency x-rays are read by physicians, not radiologists, due to a shortage of medical staff," she said. "In contrast, radiology cases during on-call periods (i.e., nights and weekends) are deemed too important by the on-call team to have other physicians read them, which creates extra stress and strain. To improve this situation, the on-call teams must be increased to avoid affecting the next day's staffing. Indeed, after a night on call a radiologist does not work the following day. For example, an onsite, senior radiologist may read as many as 100 CT scans."
Still in its infancy
Emergency radiology is a relatively new subspecialty of imaging, but it has gained enormous significance in recent years, according to the organizers of IDoR 2017.
"Emergencies constitute a substantial portion of radiological cases and require efficient, effective handling with correct diagnoses and decisions in a timely manner," they stated. "In the majority of hospitals today, radiologists are integral members of the emergency unit, and are in charge of sequencing, prioritization, and management of imaging services. Wherever this is the case, the outcome is impressive; not only is trauma imaging improved, with resulting lower morbidity and mortality, but all emergency patients benefit from the closer relationship between radiologists and the emergency department team."
IDoR 2017 will highlight the essential role that radiologists play in the emergency room, increasing the quality of care and treatment of patients. To convey this message, ESR has redesigned and relaunched the IDoR website and created a new poster.
IDoR was launched in 2012 and is a joint initiative of the ESR, the RSNA, and the American College of Radiology (ACR). It is an annual event held on 8 November, the day that Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered x-rays in 1895, with the aim of building greater awareness of the value that radiology contributes to safe patient care, and improving understanding of the vital role radiologists play in healthcare.